In re V.M., ___ N.C. App. ___ (Sept. 1, 2020)

Held: 
Reversed and Remanded
There is a dissent.
  • Facts: DSS received a report after a 4-month-old infant was diagnosed by the hospital with acute alcohol intoxication. The child had ingested alcohol when his mother and uncles had travelled with him out-of-state to a family funeral. On the drive back to NC, the child was fed with formula made with water from a water bottle that had apparently been filled with alcohol by relatives. The child was adjudicated neglected, and the parents appealed that adjudication.
  • Standard of review for an adjudication is whether the findings are supported by clear and convincing evidence and whether the findings support the conclusion. Conclusions of law are reviewed de novo.
  • The child’s status as neglected is a conclusion of law. “[N]ot every act of negligence on part of the parent results in a neglected juvenile.” “Sl. Op. at 5. The trial court’s summary findings that the child was in an environment where alcohol was being poured into water bottles and that the child had acute alcohol intoxication do not support the conclusion. There was a lack of analysis or additional findings that would have supported a conclusion of neglect. Remanded for additional findings.
Category:
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Stage:
Adjudication
Topic:
Neglect
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